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Q A

News/Business. Interviews with leaders from politics, the media, education and technology.

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00:30:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Channel 91 (627 MHz)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Richard Nixon 7, Us 6, J. Edgar Hoover 6, Lamar Alexander 5, California 4, Washington 4, Jack Anderson 4, Kissinger 3, Donald Segretti 3, United States 3, Nixon 2, John 2, Mitchell 2, George Shultz 2, Usc 2, Charles Colson 2, Timmons 2, Chuck Colson 2, New York 2, The Irs 1,
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  CSPAN    Q A    News/Business. Interviews with leaders from  
   politics, the media, education and technology.  

    January 7, 2013
    6:30 - 7:00am EST  

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as exceptions. but it was liberals that he hated it -- it was liberals. jews and hollywood and new york were part of the target. but i do not go for it. it was the locker room kind of anti-semitism and not something he carried out. >> what was your reaction? >> i am proud to say that there are a lot of people interviewed on this subject and there is a lot for the viewer to make sense of.
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i will leave it to the viewer. all i can say is that president nixon's comments on the tapes are about jews in a way that is different from how william safire describes it. richard nixon is talking about how jews have exaggerated the holocaust because they want sympathy, and they have used it to gain sympathy. there is an anger towards jews that i believe cannot be explained simply in terms of liberal versus conservative, but i leave it to others to make up their own minds. i will tell you there is now a very good collection of people speaking on this issue that is publicly available. that is my job. >> here is chuck colson telling a story. >> kissinger had the right, although he abused it, to have
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nobody announce him. kissinger could walk in when he wanted. nixon told him that because of the severity of foreign policy issues, feel free to come in and interrupt anything. henry would do it for trivial things. one day, nixon was really kind of ticked off at henry for a variety of things. in the executive office building -- i looked over, it was henry. nixon did not appear to look, but i knew he knew it was henry. he said, i think you are right -- i think it is time we use nuclear weapons. everything else has failed. kissinger stood in the doorway, absolutely paralyzed. that is on the tape somewhere. someone would hear that on the tapes. colson did bring up the dark side of nixon -- everything they say is true.
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it was pure humor. he did that sort of thing often. >> he died in 2012 at age 80 -- how many hours did you interview him? >> it was a fantastic interview. i interviewed him twice. the first time, that is from the first interview, again, i let people talk. a number people who had been interviewed often had a set of stories. the first interview was basically a set of stories. the second interview was the follow-up. i knew more and could ask -- it was different. he is much less comfortable with in the second interview. i do not think chuck colson was candid. i think he is guarded and i
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think he -- i think that charles colson decided what he would, what he would say he did and nothing more. there was a set of things he would apologize for, and there is a whole story out there he never talked about, that he took to the grave. he knew a lot more. the second interview, i tried to push him beyond the bounds of the stories he told the history channel and other places and he got very uncomfortable. i hope i did it in a professional way -- i will leave it to the viewer to decide that. >> where you always off-camera? >> always. there were the first two -- i did the hague interview, had a number of colleagues participated as well. it was just the videographer -- they included us in the beginning. i preferred to be off-camera.
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when paul musgrave did the ones he did, he was also off camera. that is what gives the wonderful look -- it makes the interview useful in different formats. >> it came up in the past that you being a canadian liberal, gay, and richard nixon might not be all that excited about you running the library. i bring this up now because of the dwight chapin interview. did dwight know you were gay? >> i never denied it, but i would not bring it up. i do not know if he knew i was gay. i was shocked and delighted when i recorded this particular anecdote, but i do not think he knew i was gay.
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the interview is extremely important for the development of this oral history project, and we will get to that in a moment. >> this is almost two minutes -- for those who do not know, jack anderson was a columnist at one time. >> anybody who saw the movie "j. edgar," this story and the role that j. edgar hoover plays in the story is hilarious. >> head of the fbi at the time. >> who is going to take a personal interest in whether there is a homosexual ring, a gay ring, at the center of the nixon administration. he was the deputy assistant to the president, a good-looking california guy. >> here we are -- i can remember going home, you are scared to death. this is like a time bomb.
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this gets in the press and anderson gets going -- it is a disaster for all of us. and it is not true. the next day, each of us individually go into the cab that and sit across, right across -- we are sworn in. and then each of us is questioned by j. edgar hoover. he asks all of the questions -- the transcript of this was provided to jack anderson. that is how it was stopped. >> and hoover was planning to give this to anderson? >> no. anderson was going to go with the story -- jack anderson, the columnist. he was the one who is going to
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put the photographer down there and -- i have always thought, if i ever see brit hume i will ask him, because he was working for anderson at the time. anderson is getting ready to go for the story. he tells mitchell -- mitchell goes, i want to meet with all of you as a group. he says, i want you to get to the bottom of this, john. john comes up with an idea -- he brings j. edgar hoover over and has this to pose with the cabinet with j. edgar hoover during the questions. what these relationships were. >> i should mention this before -- what happens is jack anderson is about to go with the story that haldeman and his top aides are having sex with each other.
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>> he is the chief of staff -- he has these young california guys and it is a homosexual ring and they all have huts, not huts, but little cabins near each other. that is the story. i had never heard this. the fact that j. edgar hoover decided that the way to determine whether it was true -- j. edgar hoover has its own complicated sexual history -- but for each of them to interview these young california guys, blond haired california guys and ask them about their sexual preference -- i nearly fell over in my chair. all you can hear is the stammer -- i'm trying not to express my surprise at this story, which frankly i had never heard before and i have not seen anywhere else. so there it is. >> he was in his 20's then -- he was assistant to the
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president and went to prison. what is he like today? >> what a story. mr. chapin, who added that no before, was unlike -- i did not know before, was unlike charles colson. he was charming, and i think candid. he came to the interview which we did in new york -- ready to talk. and to preserve his story. some will say that he was just going to defend himself at the expense of the president, but he had remained close with the president. president nixon interacted with him after the president left the white house. he felt he needed to tell some stories to set the record straight. it was an amazing interview. it got him into trouble among
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his colleagues and lead to a controversy for the oral history program because he said something on tape that he did not say to the senate and did not say in the trial. something that the nixon group had always denied. >> that was? >> that it was richard nixon who was there when the dirty tricks campaign was ordered. that nixon was too smart to ordered -- he was sitting in the room. it was done in his office, which is why it was not taped. >> that was donald segretti. >> the dirty tricks campaign in the 1972 campaign -- president nixon wanted it, knew about it, and wanted him -- he had worked for richard nixon for a long
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time. he was very close to nixon. nixon had a small staff in the 1968 campaign, a personal staff. he was his advance man -- he later was the head advance man before he went into the white house. this man was extremely close to richard nixon. >> donald segretti -- >> they went to school together at usc. >> he was a prankster who had done tricks on some republican candidates over the year -- tricks being crazy little things. nothing harmful. one day the buzzer goes off and i go into the president's office -- he is sitting there. they say, bob says it, did you know anyone who can do that stuff -- we should have somebody like that. i say, let me think about it. so i went out and i thought
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about it -- i thought of donald segretti. he had been a roommate at usc and was just leaving the judge advocate's position in the army. i thought -- he is very anonymous and would fit in and could do this kind of thing. >> what happened to segretti? >> he went to jail, too. i actually met segretti. he was that close to doing an interview -- i talked to him twice. but he did not want to do the project. >> why? >> he did not tell me why. >> he lives in california now? >> i really should not say. i found out where he lived as a result of my job. >> people who want to see the entire interviews should go to nixonlibrary.gov, or come to us
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and our video library. also for the record -- you are now an american citizen. >> i became a u.s. citizen in 2001. >> you were educated at harvard and yale and johns hopkins. >> i have a m.a. and ph.d from harvard in history. >> george shultz was secretary of treasury and secretary of state -- in the nixon administration he was secretary of treasury. here he is. >> he came to me and said, john dean has just brought me a list of 50 people and wants a full investigation of them. that is a very unpleasant thing to have happen to you. what should i do?
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i said, do not do it. he said, what shall i tell john dean if he asks me how it is going? tell him if he has a problem he has to go to me. in the tapes there is discussion between the president and john dean about who do i think i am. but it was an improper use of the irs, and i would not do it. >> did you speak to the president about this? >> he never brought it up. >> this is really important. the private library made the argument -- and this is an argument school kids absorb -- that all presidents break the law and the difference is that richard nixon got caught. i felt that this was a terrible lesson to be teaching students,
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that their presidents are corrupt. i thought it was to -- let's say the presidents break the rules. i thought it was a sad lesson for two reasons. one, that was not what you should teach kids. secondly, it is not true. third, it gives presidents the possibility of redemption if they commit real crimes. frankly, sometimes presidents are bad, and we should not think they should all be venerated. i knew that i did not want to be a carpetbagger. i did not want to be an east coast progressive who came to orange county and decided that if he was so smart and he knew it all and that was that. what i always dreamed of was an interview like this, where you have somebody of the gravitas of george shultz to explain
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that sometimes the president tells you to do the wrong thing and you say no. it shows the way our system works. our system could not possibly work if presidents always got their way. >> a long question about the controversy in the library system and the foundation and the nixon loyalists. but here is a quick question -- i do not want to show more take -- did any of them try to interfere with your request to these people to the interviews? >> my goodness, yes. what happened is not only did this project on mostly to me being fired -- >> you worked for the federal government, not the nixon -- >> yes, but when you have senator who takes a personal interest in your work -- his point was that he felt that i was, that i did not like richard nixon.
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he held up president obama's nomination for the archives of the united states and put a hold because of me. he admitted -- the archives of the united states, the nominee met with senator lamar alexander, he complained about me to him. but lamar alexander did not ask david to fire me. but he wanted to raise his concern. to david's credit, he did not ask me to change what i was doing, nor did they curtail the project. >> lamar alexander had worked for richard nixon in the white house. >> i interviewed william timothy, who has been the head of the congressional office, and he did not like the interview. >> lamar alexander did not? >> i interviewed lamar
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alexander and there was no trouble. i interviewed him in 2007. he enjoyed the interview. i interview timmons in 2009 and he did not like it -- he felt there were too many questions about watergate. he was in a sense the rabbi -- alexander's godfather in washington. he is older. i think timmons asked him to do this. >> usually the question he tells us about the oval office -- here is another one the people my age will remember. the lincoln memorial story in the middle of the vietnam war. >> we follow him up to the lincoln memorial -- could not have gone there more than two minutes after he did. we went up to see what was
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going on and found him in discussion with 10 to 15 young people who had come in from all over the east coast. i believe there were only four secret service agents. it was a scary time. we got up there while it was still dark. he spent 45 minutes, maybe longer, talking to the students. i heard a lot of it, listened to it -- wrote down some of it after it was over. basically, it was a time when i was really afraid for his safety. i know he wrote later on that he had never seen the secret service quite so frightened. he certainly got that right. we did not have a sufficient
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detail to protect him if somebody had decided to attack him or assault him. it was totally unplanned and unscripted. his own notes of the meeting are extraordinary. what he covered in that time -- it was not just that, it was a major effort to communicate with the young people. and the crowd grew. we began to realize this is not rich little -- this is richard nixon. >> what time of the night was that? >> it is after midnight. this is one of the greatest presidential stories i have ever encountered. the president of the united states is overrun. just after the kent state massacre. it is may of 1970. and he cannot sleep.
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and he goes to his valet and says, the most beautiful sight in this country is the lincoln memorial lit at night. let's go look at it. and he leaves the white house without his staff. they do not know about it. they are asleep. there was a fear -- there was a march on washington, and it was a real fear the white house might be besieged. there were all of these buses that had been lined around the white house to protect the president. the president decides on his own to leave the sanctuary and go among the demonstrators. this is unscripted, this is raw history. richard nixon mentions it in his memoirs. i'm very happy to say besides bud krogh, nbc located the one
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student who took photographs -- there are four or five students. one of the last things i did is i interviewed him about his experience that strange night, meeting the president of the united states on the steps of the lincoln memorial. >> we are really running out of time -- any of what you have found in your interviews has been kept from the public? >> unintentionally on my part -- there are about 15% -- 85% is completely open. 15%, some of the interviewees mentioned security matters and the relevant agencies have to review the interview. but i did not intentionally engaged in discussions of national security. where it was appropriate, asked him questions. to my surprise, they apparently
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mentioned things that agencies want to review. >> last video -- the youngest of the people we have shown today, 70 years old. here's a quick story. >> we watch the speech -- it was shortly after the farewell speech. i cannot remember exactly what he said -- but he said he forgot one thing. what was that? we forgot the resignation letter. that was very interesting -- it would be interesting to read it. he said, you do not get it. you need to write it. don't you think the president ought to write his own resignation letter? they said, look, he is in no place to do it. we need you to write the letter. i said, i do not know what to say. first of all, to whom does the president resign? >> how long was the letter? >> it is very short.
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they did not spend much time writing it. there is only one copy of that letter. it was sent to henry kissinger, secretary of state. there are many xeroxes of the letter. richard nixon would later sign things -- you will see on ebay lots of copies of the letter for sale. there is only one. it is in washington -- not at the nixon library. we borrowed it. >> after all, 149 interviews -- a total of what? >> 300 hours. it is all public domain. >> why not writing a book about this? >> i was not doing it for that reason. >> but you could. anybody could get the papers and write a book. >> of course they could. i thought it was really
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important to create this archive. i wanted to show that you could use the power of government to create in this multimedia age, free video. and there is no hidden agenda other than the fact that i wanted to create it. i was not alone. i had real support in washington. that was my goal. the beauty of this is that i touch on all kinds of subjects. i will tell you, there were a couple of things i focused on. obviously watergate, but also domestic affairs. poorly understood, richard nixon's domestic affairs. i raised money. at a certain point the foundation did not want to pay for this anymore. a group of alumni work in
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domestic policy -- they helped me raise money. so i used money that i raised with a group of nixon alumni to pay for a lot of this. i used some of the trust fund money. it is very expensive to do this project, but my goal was to show that, because most of the times these oral histories are done by private foundations, and they have a vested interest, i would say, in a certain legacy. i will not say that at all push for that legacy. the lbj foundation is evenhanded about history, but that is not true for all. this is the first time the national archives did something like this on this scale, and i wanted it to be done. >> we are over time. >> i am sorry. >> the former director of the nixon library. he left in 2011. thank you very much. >> brian, my pleasure. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts, or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q- and-a.org. "q&a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> i think cyber security remains a top priority because of its national security implications. we saw that congress failed to come to an agreement on legislation in 2012. perhaps many would predict this, but they remained far apart as far as cyber securities
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standards. >> another big issue is going to be implementing the incentive options to create more spectrum so that the sec has its sleeves rolled up and as in the midst of working on that, some hot-button issues. there is on licensed spectrum, that powered by five -- wifi. >> net neutrality could be a big issue in the next year. the d.c. circuit is considering verizon's challenge to the fcc's world. it is unclear how the court will rule. the d.c. circuit in the past has been skeptical of their authority. >> look at the major technology and telecommunications issues a 2030, and the reporters who cover them. that is tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> this morning, changes to the this morning, changes to the